song sparrow

At mid-morning, a low, heavy cloud ceiling that muffles sound. The first snowflakes wander in, accompanied by a song sparrow’s jaunty tune.

Cold rain. A song sparrow sings sotto voce from beside the stream. In the front garden, one last, late blossom glimmers on the witch hazel.

Clear and cold at dawn. Nothing but the sound of water gurgling in the spring until, at length, the first distant bird call: song sparrow.

A dusting of snow. Three song sparrows are trying to out-sing each other, and the tall black locust at the woods’ edge creaks with ice.

A fresh dusting of snow. I close my eyes to listen the birds: song sparrow, bluebird, chickadee, a white-throated sparrow’s wavering song.

The rushing stream in one ear, a song sparrow in the other. Smoke from someone’s burn pile. High up, a V of migrant geese heading north.

Now that the walnuts have all fallen, a squirrel deigns to pick one off the ground. The dogwood beside the stream pullulates with sparrows.

Another cold and overcast morning. A meadow vole zips into its burrow beside the stream and a song sparrow flies up with an indignant chirp.

A groundhog crosses the road and enters a burrow just cleared of snow. A song sparrow sings close enough that I can see his throat throb.

In the silence after the bulldozer stops, a song sparrow sings his lying spring song over and over. A gauze of stratus cloud dims the sun.

Parallel relics of the plow, the only snow yet to go glows in the dim light. A song sparrow by the spring house sings his spring song.

Despite the cold, a song sparrow warbles in the bushes. Inside, a shrill chirp from the smoke alarm—a dying battery’s swan song.

Sunny but still cold at 9:00. A fly walks slowly up a porch column. Water gurgles in the ditch. Three kinds of sparrows trade songs.